Sunday, September 17, 2023

How Can Nurses Improve Hcahps Scores

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Providers And Hospital Compensation

How to Improve HCAHPS Scores?

Although its not often noted, in hospitals, a complicated relationship exists between healthcare providers, the price of healthcare and reimbursement from CMS. Many providers chose to work in hospitals because they can just focus on care. Headaches about insurance payments, patients ability to pay and prescription costs dont often clog hands-on providers bandwidths.

Nevertheless, the HCAHPs survey brings the relationship between quality for patients and financial concerns to physicians, nurses, pharmacists and others. Improving patient satisfaction, partly through overcoming the social-skill challenges sometimes present in busy, science-oriented environments, is not easy. However, planning for consistent, clear and empathetic communication at a hospital-wide level goes a long way for patient satisfaction levels that improve HCAHPS scores.

Make Sure Nurses Explain Patient Care Clearly

The third item on the HCAHPS questions list concerns how often nurses explained care plans clearly to the patient. Being in a hospital can be a terrifying prospect. Though constant explanations may seem tedious to staff, theyre a big part of a hospitals final survey score.

Review materials and procedures with the patient. Understand that some patients prefer DVDs for education, while others like spoken or written instruction. All patient education should start from a whats in it for the patient motivation.

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Refer Back To Your Hcahps Surveys

Next, refer back to the original source of this data your HCAHPS surveys. Look through the 10 topics of HCAHPS in your previous and current HCAHPS surveys to see how outpatients responded to questions about things such as nurse and doctor communication, cleanliness of the environment, and other areas the survey asked about.

Highlight any low scores and add these areas of concern to your list. They will probably correlate directly to areas of concern you already flagged using your results in the Hospital Compare review.

These HCAHPS surveys specifically ask patients whether nurses and doctors treated them with respect and empathy, and communicated with them effectively. They also ask about the cleanliness and peacefulness of the hospital environment as well as how their discharge was handled. This information can filter directly into an action plan for improving your future HCAHPS scores and your overall star rating on Hospital Compare.

Create new patient questionnaires to gather more information that will help shape your action plan. These surveys can be customized to address specific issues youve identified such as outpatients feeling like the doctor didnt explain how to take their medication properly at home.

Establish Peer To Peer Evaluation

Infographic: Prioritize the patient experience

To improve patient engagement among your staff, establish peer to peer evaluations so that nurses can get feedback from their colleagues. This way every nurse is practicing patient engagement and they all know what is expected of them.

Each of these suggestions come from CNOs who claim that they have seen improvement in scores from these strategies. Improvement in scores will increase the chances of being rewarded with reimbursements and will improve the overall value-based care system that your hospital provides.

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Tell Patients How Youll Help Them Afterward

Most patients dont expect help from the hospital after theyve gone home. It can come as a surprise to doctors, nurses, and other staff that some patients do expect assistance to continue.

Since continued help shows up in several HCAHPS questions, this can be a big area to improve HCAHPS scores. Make sure a representative of the hospital discusses post-hospitalization help. Even if no help will be available, ensure the patient understands that. Getting higher survey scores can be as simple as running through a simple questionnaire like this with patients:

  • Do you have someone to help you at home?
  • Will you need help getting to the bathroom?
  • Do you have someone to prepare your meals?
  • Can you call on family or friends if you need help?
  • Do you have arrangements for in-home care?
  • About The Hcahps Survey

    The HCAHPS survey was born out of three general objectives that serve as guiding posts to the questionnaire:

  • To produce data about patients’ perspectives of care. The data is helpful in the objective and meaningful comparisons of hospitals on topics relevant to patients.
  • To improve the quality of care. Publicly reporting the survey results creates new incentives for hospitals to improve.
  • To enhance accountability in health care. Public reporting also increases the transparency of the quality of hospital care provided in return for public investment.
  • The HCAHPS survey contains 29 questions. Discharged patients answer these questions related to their recent hospital stay or treatment.

    There are nineteen core questions related to the critical aspects of the patient’s hospital experiences. It includes communication with nurses and doctors, hospital staff responsiveness, quiet environment, cleanliness, medicines, discharge information, general hospital rating, and whether they would recommend the hospital.

    The additional questions cover congressionally mandated reports and adjust for the mix across hospitals.

    The survey targets a random sample of adult patients across medical conditions between 48 hours and six weeks after discharge. The survey does not restrict coverage to Medicare beneficiaries.

    The HCAHPS surveys are completed via mail, telephone, telephone follow-up, or active, interactive voice recognition .

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    How Do Nurses Impact Hcahps Scores

    PRC is celebrating Nursing Week 2018! We love and are proud of all our nursing partners across the country. Keep up the amazing work, nurses, none of us can do it without you!

    If sickness is a battle and physicians are the commanding officers, nurses are the frontline infantry, deep in the trenches and carrying the weight of the war on not enough shoulders. What does that mean for patients? According to HCAHPS scores, quite a lot. Nearly a decade ago, Kutney-Lee et al. on the relationship between happy nurses and happy patients. This paper posited that a significant relationship exists between the nurse work environment and all HCAHPS patient satisfaction measures, not just those related to nursing. Eight years and multiple studies later, this continues to hold true.

    Treating nursing staff with courtesy and respect is one of the strongest ways a hospital can improve their scores andperhaps more importantlyboost and strengthen morale. Minding nurse satisfaction, work environment, and burnout rates significantly impacts HCAHPS scores across all dimensions.

    Does Hcahps Score Impact Reimbursement

    2 Tactics for Improving HCAHPS Scores AND Overall Patient Experience

    Does HCAHPS score impact reimbursement? You bet your bottom dollar they do!

    For the majority of hospitals, a large portion of revenue comes from Medicare dollars administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services . Through the Hospitals Value-Based Purchasing program, hospital payments are adjusted for the quality of their care. However, CMS labels it as incentivizing care, as they award the highest payments to the top performers. However, the lowest performers receive less reimbursement and everyone starts out with a lower reimbursement since these incentives are funded by a 2% reduction in Medicare Severity Diagnosis Related Group .

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    Staff Responsiveness Composite Score

    Staff responsiveness composite score measures the time taken for a staff member to respond when a patient requests help. Hospitals being a sensory-saturated place with alarms, beepers, and a lot of conversations happening all the time, the tendency for staff members to be distracted is very highand this can be fatal.

    Telehealth and RPM have Bluetooth biometric features that extend the possibility of remote symptom monitoring, allowing staff members to monitor patients vital signs and intervene as needed to avoid adverse events.

    For example, HRS PatientConnect® RPM solution uses tablet-based communication to quickly attend to patients needs. With the pandemic still at large, this helps increase staff responsiveness as nurses can talk to and see their patients without the risk of exposure or repeatedly changing in and out of their personal protective equipment .

    Make Sure Nurses Treat Patients With Courtesy And Respect

    The first of the 27 questions on the HCAHPS Survey concerns nurse courtesy. The good news is, nurses generally have good bedside manner to begin with. However, fast-paced hospitals and clinics can put a crimp in courtesy over time.

    To combat the problem and score high on the survey, make sure nurses follow these easy tips:

    • Introduce yourself.
    • Practice empathy and listening.

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    Address Employee Stress Rates

    When hospital staff are stressed and overwhelmed, their demeanor will often impact patient experience. Healthcare is an inherently stressful profession, and hospitals often benefit from offering programs and initiatives to help reduce stress for doctors, nurses, and other staff and help them prioritize their own well-being.

    For instance, the Gundersen Health System in Wisconsin started a stress management initiative called the Heart Map, which teaches employees to take pauses throughout the work day to lower their heart rates and have moments to themselves. After several months using the system, 70% of employees reported feeling more calm, 47% reported having less anxiety, and 94% felt better able to handle emotional stress, according to Health Leaders Media.

    This type of initiative can have a significant impact on patient satisfaction, as positive, engaged staff are more likely to provide top-notch care.

    Care Transitions Composite Score

    Tami Gilbert

    Patients undergoing transitions from the hospital are often very vulnerable they may have functional losses due to a stroke or other serious health events, continued post-treatment pain, anxiety or confusion. Patients and theirfamily members/caregivers can find themselves unprepared for what happens after the transition and unsure of what they should do to successfully complete the care transition.

    Lack of competent transition systems can negatively impact patient safety and perceived quality of care. This in turn may lead to undesirably high rates of readmission, which can cause your hospital to lose up to one percent of eligible Medicare reimbursement payments. Data on readmission penalties shows that in 2017, 79% of US hospitals were penalized $528 million for readmissions.

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    Who Has The Biggest Influence On Patient Satisfaction

    Many healthcare providers and clinicians impact patient satisfaction, but perhaps the most critical role is that of the nurse. As the largest portion of the healthcare workforce, nurses spend far more time with patients than other clinicians, and patients and loved ones often look to nurses first with questions and concerns.

    Because nurses spend more time with patients than physicians, its not surprising that patients trust in physicians is diminishing, while nurses are one of the most trusted professionals in America.

    If youre trying to improve patient satisfaction, start by investing in performance-based training for your nurses. These team members have the largest influence on the patient experience, and developing skills such as effective communication strategies can lead to improved outcomes and higher HCAHPS scores.

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    A comprehensive telehealth and RPM solution can help healthcare providers build strategies to improve patient satisfaction, nail the HCAHPS scores, better manage reimbursement, and avoid financial penalties. Learn more about how our telehealth solutions can help your organization improve quality of care.

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    Alta Provides Quality Of Care Through Language

    ALTA Language Services inc. doesnt just provide high volumes of medical language exchange services. We understand hospitals drive to improve HCAHPS scores based on communicative HCAHPS survey questions. ALTA relishes assisting efforts to improve the experience of patients throughout their hospital stay and post-discharge. Hospital consumer assessment scores neednt suffer due to language barriers.

    Ultimate Effects On Hcahps Scores

    HCAHPS Scores and the Patient Experience

    Patient care should be a hospitals top priority. Penalties can put a hospital in a negative feedback loop. Its harder to solve the problems causing the penalties without the financial resources the penalties confiscated. Communication comprises a vital component of many an HCAHPS score gauging patient satisfaction, aside from those that just collect the occurrences in the patient experience.

    Communicative assessment of healthcare providers is crucial. The HCAHPS survey succinctly gauges patients perception of providers communicative thoroughness and care. This perception is subjective. Yet the risk of greater ramifications in the form of the hospitals reputation and even malpractice suits can be assessed with the HCAHPS survey. One less subjective area of communication is improving foreign-language situations.

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    Respond In A Timely Manner

    Many of the HCAHPS survey questions evaluate wait times for being admitted, seen, and discharged. The longer a patient waits during their stay significantly impacts patient satisfaction. To decrease wait times, healthcare organizations should take proactive approaches to their call button response, admittance, and discharge procedures.

    One of the questions on the HCAHPS assessment addresses how prompt nurses are to respond to call button presses. A nursing unit can receive around 7,000 patient calls per month on average. Patients press the call button when they are feeling neglected or if a problem arises. Timely response improves patient satisfaction.

    To reduce the number of patient calls and improve response time:

    • Anticipate patients needs to reduce call button presses.
    • Communicate with the patient about when you will return to check on them.
    • Look for signs of emotional support in the patients room. If they dont have enough support items or people, this patient may need additional support and frequent checks.
    • Make sure to listen with 100% attention. It only takes 90 seconds to make eye contact and listen.
    • Be kind and empathetic.
    • Remember anxiety and anger are side effects of fear.
    • Make sure the patients phone is charged and within reach.
    • Ensure they have enough food and water.
    • Find out if they need assistance to use the bathroom.
    • Check all equipment that might sound alarms.
    • Perform a final round before you go on break and/or leave for the day.

    Streamlining The Discharge And Follow

    HCAHPS asks patients about how doctors and nurses managed continuous care and the discharge process. The survey asks whether clinicians checked in on post-discharge care plans, made it clear which provider will follow-up with ongoing needs, and whether that care will be adequate for the patients condition.

    At patient advocacy group Planetree, leaders have developed a hospital discharge plan to ensure clinicians meet patient needs.

    The plan includes identifying a family care partner that will help take care of the patient following hospital discharge, said Planetrees Director of Research Jill Harrison, PhD.

    From there, clinicians check in with the patient and appointed caregiver to determine which functions they will need to learn for optimal at-home care.

    Planetree has a program that allows people to say that they want help with wound changes, or help ambulate their loved one, or help check a tracheotomy if the patient has one, Harrison said. Caregivers go through a training program with the nursing staff and learn how to provide that care so that when patients get out of the hospital setting their family members are ready to take that all on.

    Other key healthcare players are advocating for a similar strategy. AARP has been sponsoring a law in state legislatures across the country to support family caregiver engagement. The organization says caregiver engagement will help support continuity of care.

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    Tips For Improving Hcahps Scores

    Hospitals scores on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey are becoming increasingly important for facilities to validate patient satisfaction and avoid losing considerable federal reimbursement.

    The intent of the HCAHPS initiative is to provide a standardized survey tool and data collection methodology for measuring patients perspectives on hospital care. While many hospitals have collected information on patient satisfaction, prior to HCAHPS there was no national standard for collecting or publicly reporting patients perspectives of care information that allows for meaningful comparisons between hospitals.

    HCAHPS is a core set of questions that can be combined with a broader, customized set of hospital-specific items. HCAHPS survey items complement the data hospitals currently collect to support improvements in internal customer services and quality-related activities.

    Nurses should be a part of these four strategies hospitals can use to increase HCAHPS scores.

    How To Improve Your Hcahps Scores

    Improve the Patient Experience and HCAHPS Scores with Technology

    To improve patient satisfaction among healthcare organizations, an impartial survey, known as the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems , evaluates each healthcare organization.

    The HCAHPS survey not only evaluates patient care, but also influences the organizations reimbursement. Thats why health organizations should seriously consider ways to improve their HCAHPS scores.

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    Train Specifically For Patient Experience

    The first thing we do is we train specifically. We dont use a shotgun blast approach and throw out every patient experience idea to all of our staff. It will overwhelm them theyll go across the street and work for your competitor.

    The advantage is that we already know the questions that are being asked on the survey. We know the specific questions that are being asked on:

    • How responsive your staff was during a patients stay
    • How well nurses communicated
    • How clear communication on medications was to the patient
    • How clearly staff communicated on pain management, and
    • How well staff communicated on the discharge process.

    The next step is to pick those key words out of the questions, and train our staff specifically to deliver a care experience based on those key words.

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